Battle Royale

dir. Fukasaku

Opens Fri Feb 27, 7pm

(One Showing Only!)

Clinton Street Theater

It's official: teens are rotten to the core. What with all their cigarette smoking, gasoline huffing, and crazy horrible rap music--and the backtalk! That's what really gets me! The incessant backtalk! And while there have been many films addressing the subject of high-schoolers gone wrong, no movie has taken it to such a gratifying conclusion as Kinji Fukasaku's 2000 cult smash, Battle Royale.

It's the new millennium and society has sunk into a shithole. Ten million workers are unemployed and 800,000 students refuse to attend school. And when kids aren't in school, they're in... what? TROUBLE, that's right. Fearing for their lives, the adults quickly pass the "Millennium Educational Reform Act," or as it becomes more commonly known, "The Battle Royale Act."

Each year a random group of ninth graders are kidnapped by the government and dropped off on a deserted island. Once there, headmaster Kitano (the always-brilliant Beat Takeshi) instructs the students that the only way for them to stay alive is by killing their fellow teens. Each student is given a weapon--the fortunate get guns and knives; the unfortunate, frying pans--before being sent out to maim, kill, and hopefully become the sole survivor.

The random nature of the game provides for a simultaneously hilarious and violent ride. Alliances are made and broken, the weak either rise to the challenge or are viciously exterminated, and even in the most awkward of circumstances, romance blooms.

While Battle Royale clearly isn't for everyone (though I absolutely LOVE IT), the overly generous supply of blood and violence carries a palatable cartoonish coating, and unbelievably, Fukasaku manages to achieve true moments of moist-eyed tenderness. And since it's unbelievably difficult to catch Battle Royale on the big screen due to MPAA restrictions, you won't want to miss this single night ONE-TIME SHOWING at the Clinton Street. Do it for kid's sake.